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Big Ten Week 2: Schedule, Games, Previews, Picks, and Predictions

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An old Big XII matchup highlights an intriguing slate of matchups and the beginning of conference play. We pick the games!

NCAA Football: Colorado at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

What a week—for it being a short work week, this has dragged on. It’s 1:30 in the morning and I have nothing more to tell you.

BRT Note: I have something more to tell you! Here are the results from last week:

BOW TO YOUR QUEEN!!!!!!!

Back to you, MNW.

Games are happening. We talked about them this week:

If these aren’t your thing, there are other things on:

As always, all times CT, and all lines taken from Monday. If there’s movement of more than a couple points, I’ll let you know, but the writers’ picks stand from Monday’s lines.

Vanderbilt Commodores at Purdue Boilermakers

11am | BTN | Purdue -7.5 | O/U 56

Straight-Up: Purdue, 13-5
Against the Spread: Vanderbilt, 11-7

Boilerman31: Hell, show me something, anything to make me think this team isn’t headed for 4-8. Vandy wins outright.

Dead Read: Purdue will find a way to cover this. If not, whoo boy.

Candystripes for Breakfast: The Boilers shake off their tough trip out west, but not completely. Purdue wins by a field goal or so.

Stewmonkey13: I think Purdue might be a zigzag team this season. I don’t think Vandy can keep up. PU covers.

WhiteSpeedReceiver: Nevada was the easiest of Purdue’s non-conference games. Derek Mason used to put together some good defenses to shut down Oregon, and I just don’t think this will end well for the Boilermakers.

Creighton M: Vandy isn’t very good. Purdue barely beats the spread and the SEC’s terrible start to the season continues.

MNWildcat: Riley Neal’s best game against Big Ten competition was a 21/34, 204-yard, 1 TD, 1 INT performance against Illinois in 2017. Even Purdue can handle that. But I won’t believe in Purdue beyond that until they lay the wood to someone in the non-conference. Boilermakers, 31-28.


#21 Syracuse Orange at Maryland Terrapins

11am | ESPN | SU -1.5 (has shifted to MD -2) | O/U 57.5

Straight-Up: Syracuse, 11-7

Bman31: I honestly learned nothing from Maryland’s blowout win over Howard and Syracuse’s opponent Liberty literally had their coach on a stretcher in the pressbox because who the hell knows why? When a line moves this much, it’s because the public and sharps are on the same page and no one sees value in the Orange. I originally was thinking Syracuse and their defense had the advantage but I’m changing my spot. Maryland wins and covers.

DR: Sure, I’m in. I predict the Terps will win (and cover, if need be).

C4B: Are we really sure that Syracuse is good? I get that they’re a ranked team, but are they actually good? Give me the Terps by at least a touchdown.

Stew: I think Dino Babers is a good coach. I think Mike Locksley is a terrible coach. Gimme the good coach to cover.

WSR: Unfortunately for Maryland, Syracuse is on a slightly different level than Howard. Now you get to see what the coach you should have tried to hire can do.

CM: I think Maryland is improved from last year, but I also think ‘Cuse is better. Orange win.

MNW: Like I said in DWT;WT—Mo Neal and Tommy DeVito have to be better against Maryland than they were against Liberty, but presented with only “all of 2018” and “murdering Howard” as our options for the Maryland defense, I’m going to lead towards “they’ll be better.” Syracuse, 35-30.


Army Black Knights at #7 Michigan Wolverines

11am | FOX | Mich -23 | O/U 47.5

Straight-Up: Michigan, 18-0
Against the Spread: Army, 11-7

Bman31: Army looked not-so-great against Rice and needed last minute heroics to get the win. If you like ball control, this is the game for you. Not sure what the total is but I’d lean toward the under. Michigan wins easily but I’m going with Army to cover the large spread.

DR: Michigan was uninspired last week. I am betting that trend continues. Wolverines with the win, but Army covers.

C4B: While I will firmly be rooting for the upset, the brave old Army team will have to settle for the cover. Insert your narrative from that sort of result here.

Stew: This game could be over in less than 3 hours. I’ll take Army to cover, but Michigan still wins pretty comfortably.

WSR: I’m foolishly thinking that Michigan will either get 4 possessions or somehow score TDs on all 3 and get a safety. This feels like a poor decision.

CM: I don’t think there’s a single person outside Ann Arbor (or possibly Annapolis) that will be cheering for Michigan. Army will beat that ridiculous spread, but the Wolverines aren’t dropping this one. Unfortunately.

MNW: Our favorite service academy managed an abysmal rushing output against Rice—I want to believe, but this has “28-7” written all over it. Turns out that’s enough to cover. Michigan, 28-7.


Cincinnati Bearcats at #5 Ohio State Buckeyes

11am | ABC | OSU -16.5 | O/U 53

Straight-Up: Ohio State, 18-0
Against the Spread: Ohio State, 10-8

Bman31: Luke Fickell makes his triumphant return to Columbus fresh off a solid performance against a Chip Kelly-led UCLA team in what ended up being one of the more entertaining games of the week. Cincinnati was a defensive darling last year and I think they’ll give Ryan Day and Co. some fits. Buckeyes win, Bearcats cover.

DR: Buckeyes win, but Cincy gets a back door cover.

C4B: Until Ohio State proves that they’re beatable, they aren’t. I don’t see that changing this day.

Stew: I think this line is a bit too low, probably respect for Cincy, but I think OSU should be able to run them off the field. OSU covers easily.

WSR: Cincinnati is probably the 3rd best team that tOSU will play this year in the regular season after PSU and Michigan, and they’re one of the 3 best G5 teams after Boise and Memphis. But tOSU’s talent is just on another level and we’re going to see it. Fickell’s creating a beast, but they’re just not good enough to get it done here.

MNW: Desmond Ridder has big-play potential with both his arm and his legs, and Michael Warren II didn’t look great against the UCLA defense. The Bearcats could get their fair share of yards against the Buckeyes, even if most of FAU’s came in garbage time. OSU, 38-24.


Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Iowa Hawkeyes

11am | FS1 | Iowa -19 | O/U 49.5

Straight-Up: Iowa, 18-0
Against the Spread: Iowa, 10-8

Bman31: There’s nothing to be said about this game so I’ll go with this. rutgres is 2-8 ATS on the road after a win. Hawkeyes cover.

C4B: Even though you’d think this could be a blowout kind of game, Iowa will probably Milton Berle this one because they’re looking ahead to el Assico.

Stew: Iowa dominates the LoS and rut can’t do anything. Iowa covers.

WSR: 1-1 still isn’t a losing record, Rutgers. Y’all go nuts and see what you can do.

CM: This is a rare prediction of Iowa covering the spread, so I’m sure it will backfire.

MNW: Dear God, why?

McLane Carter was sloppy with the ball against UMass, and that ultimately costs the Scarlet Knights when they’re behind the chains earlier and more often than they were against the Minutemen. But did Brett Gabbert give opposing teams a blueprint?

Sure, ones with a better quarterback, offensive line...most of the things that Miami Hydroxide has that Rutgers doesn’t.

AJ Epenesa feasts, and a 4th quarter forced pass to Bo Melton costs Rutgers any chance of making this exciting. Hawkeyes, 28-10.


Illinois Fighting Illini at UConn Huskies

2:30pm | CBSSN | Illinois -20 | O/U 59.5

Straight-Up: Illinois, 18-0
Against the Spread: Illinois, 14-4

Bman31: Woof. This game, not the mascot. Illinois takes the Lovie-fest on the road and covers.

DR: Illinois covers a 20 point spread. If the Illini win big, or if they lose tbf, a welfare check on thump might be necessary.

C4B: Some of you may have watched IU-Ball State last weekend. This is that game, but an actual road environment that will in no way change the final score.

Stew: UConn is horrid. Illini cover. Thump starts to believe.

WSR: I’m not sure what kind of world we live in where we should expect Illinois to be 2-0, but everything is weird in 2019 and I guess we should just accept it.

CM: UConn might be the worst FBS team in the country, and I think this is another chance for Illini fans to feel a glimmer of hope before the weight of the world crushes them like a neutron star.

MNW: I’m gonna be honest—I was super-excited to talk about UConn football and realignment as part of Beyond the Empire, and then The UConn Blog ghosted me.

UConn is now dead to me: Brandon Peters throws for 400 yards and four scores, Reggie Corbin is pulled at halftime and Ra’Von Bonner runs wild. You don’t need to talk to your kids about Illinois just yet, but damn if it won’t be fun in the meantime. Illinois, 52-14.


Eastern Illinois Panthers at Indiana Hoosiers

2:30pm | BTN | IU -34.5

Straight-Up: Indiana, 18-0
Against the Spread: EIU, 12-6

E-I-E-I-U!

Bman31: I thought we were done with this scheduling FCS thing.
/Covers eyes
/Throws dart

I guess Eastern Illinois covers.

DR: I do not see Indiana beating ANYONE by 35 points. They’ll win, but not by that much.

C4B: Consider this more of a hopeful pick than a realistic thought, but if things work out how I’d like them to, second stringers may be seen by the 4th quarter, if not sooner. For the better reason, of course.

Stew: I just can’t take Indiana to cover that big of a spread.

WSR: What is this? Why is this?

MNW: The Panthers rang in the new football year by looking listless against Chattanooga. So Adam Cushing has picked up in Charleston right where he left off in Evanston. Indiana, 35-0.


Central Michigan Chippewas at #17 wisconsin badgers

2:30pm | BTN | wisc -35 | O/U 51.5

Straight-Up: wisconsin, 18-0
Against the Spread: wisconsin, 10-8

like a welsh syllabary

Bman31: Wisconsin is awful at covering the spread in Camp Randall. Last season, they went 0-3 ATS in the non-con and 1-6 overall at home. This Chips are bad but I’m guessing Chryst shows some mercy in the second half. Badgers win, CMU gets the money.

DR: Wiscy gonna do unspeakable things to CMU.

C4B: This really feels like a 34-7 kind of win, doesn’t it?

Stew: Dammit, but I do think wisconsin covers this giant spread.

MNW: HOLY SHIT, IT’S JIM MCELWAIN.

And there goes Jim McElwain. The Chips fired up a 38-21 win over Albany in Week 1, and that point total is...not inspiring, when Jonathan Taylor is running wild. badgers, 35-7.


#25 Nebraska Cornhuskers at Colorado Buffaloes

2:30pm | FOX | UNL -4.5 | O/U 65

Straight-Up: Colorado, 10-8
Against the Spread: Colorado, 13-5

Bman31: Last week’s game against South Alabama gives me pause. Were the Cornhuskers looking ahead to Colorado? Is the rebuild taking longer than people expected under Frost (I mean, c’mon, Frost inherited a situation nearly as bad as Brohm did at Purdue)? The Huskers went 4-1 ATS on the road last season but that was largely after the betting public turned against them for starting 0-4.

This is a dangerous revenge spot. I’m going to lean to the home dog but could see the Huskers playing mad and running Colorado out of the stadium.

DR: I will go with a Nebby win, I am thinking something like 28-17.

C4B: This will either come down to a late touchdown, or be a blowout the whole way. Your guess is as good as mine.

Stew: A home dog, you say? Oh yeah, gimme my Buffs to pull the upset.

CM: Probably the best game of the week. Colorado wins the Big 12 North title.

WSR: It’s pretty tough to not to let my personal contempt for Scott Frost’s “leadership” affect my picks, but it’s very difficult.

I haven’t gone back to watch this one again, but I’m worried that Nebraska still doesn’t have what they need on the lines to win games. Colorado 2019 isn’t going to fool anyone into thinking that they’re Colorado 1994, but Shenault is probably the best player on the field and he’ll be the difference if the Buffs can get him the ball.

MNW: Yeah, uh, if [/checks notes] something called Cephus Johnson—a quarterback who sure seemed like he would rather run than pass—can throw for over 200 yards and 6.8 YPA against Nebraska, I am gonna give Steven Montez and Laviska Shenault the benefit of the doubt.

But I like Jack Stoll and JD Spielman against a porous Buffs pass defense, and breakout Colorado RB Alex Fontenot won’t have the lanes and space Colorado State was too willing to yield. CHUCK EM IF YOU GOT EM: Huskers, 42-38.


Western Michigan Broncos at #19 Michigan State Spartans

6:30pm | BTN | MSU -16.5 (now -15) | O/U 46.5

Straight-Up: Michigan State, 18-0
Against the Spread: Western Michigan, 11-7

Andrew Kraszewski: Only thing I have to say is I see a few of you picking MSU to cover a double digit spread and y’all have really just learned nothing have you?

Bman31: This is one of those “avoid like the plague” games. Seriously, if you’re considering betting on this game, have your sanity checked. Most of the power ratings I’ve viewed would have Sparty being a 20+ point favorite but their non-con ATS record is flat out awful. I’m going to straddle this one, mostly because I don’t see Dantonio going for the kill.

DR: The Spartan offense might get well off directional Michigan. They cover.

C4B: #CelebrateTheState with a barely comfortable two score victory. Now that’s a tradition worth keeping.

Stew: This line is completely dependent on Sparty scoring on defense. I don’t think that happens this week. Western covers.

WSR: That sure is a lot of points for MSU again, isn’t it?

MNW: Western was statistically the SECOND-WORST passing defense in the country in 2018, by S&P+. If Brian Lewerke and the Spartan receiving corps can’t get it together against the Broncos, pack in the entire season.

The biggest bummer in all of this for me is that Levante Bellamy will get completely swallowed up by the Spartan defensive line and he’s damn fun to watch when he breaks one. Lots of action—again—for Matt Coghlin, who I’m now realizing I should’ve picked up in fantasy. Only difference is there’s no safety this week. Spartans, 26-7.


Buffalo Bulls at #15 Penn State Nittany Lions

6:30pm | FOX | PSU -29.5 (now -31) | O/U 56

Straight-Up: Penn State, 18-0
Against the Spread: Penn State, 17-1

[No graphic because I’m tired—Boilerman thinks they cover.]

Bman31: Last week showed us Penn State can run it up on a FCS squad. This is still a lot of games to guess on and my brain hurts. Buffalo covers.

DR: This is another throttling I will not watch. Nits cover.

C4B: Yawn, ho-hum, closer than Idaho, but that’s not saying much.

WSR: Don’t play with your food, PSU. End it quickly and mercifully.

MNW: It’s like we said last week—this is the on-brand Penn State non-conference schedule. Kick the shit outta tomato cans, struggle with Appalachian State. Tyree Jackson forewent his senior season for life as an NFL cast-off, and Buffalo will struggle to run the ball on Penn State’s defensive line. Welcome to the fire, Matt Myers. Penn State, 45-10.


Minnesota Golden Gophers at Fresno State Bulldogs

9:30pm | CBSSN | Minn -3 | O/U 47

Straight-Up: Fresno, 11-7

Bman31: Note to B1G teams. STOP TRAVELING WEST FOR NON-CON GAMES. Fresno wins outright.

DR: At Fresno on CBSSN late nite? Fresno State straight up.

C4B: Whose idea was it to play this game? At this time of day? In that part of the country?

Stew: Stop going to the west coast in the non-con. Ok, so maybe wisconsin, UNL, and Minny can. Tedford wins.

CM: Can somebody explain why all the B1G also-rans keep playing away games against G5 schools? I swear this didn’t happen until like last year. Anyway, Minny heading to the Left Coast to play a night game against one of the better G5 schools seems like a recipe for disaster.

WSR: Nearly all of last week’s offensive troubles against SDSU were caused by a very important player believing that he could just coast into the NFL and Kirk Ciarrocca thinking that he could just vanilla his way to the win. There hopefully won’t be any repeats of that this weekend, and the Gophs will take care of business.

MNW: It’s insane how fast this Minnesota spin machine fires up, isn’t it? Sorry you’re getting thrown under the bus boat in the name of every man grabbing an oar, Daniel Faalele.

Anywho, “rely on Rashod Bateman to make insane catches” and “plow Rodney Smith and Mohamed Ibrahim into the line over and over” are straight out of the wisconsin playbook, and I’ve still got those warm, fuzzy memories of the badgers in Tempe. Bulldogs, 28-24.

Poll

GAME OF THE WEEK:

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Syracuse
    (150 votes)
  • 49%
    Maryland
    (149 votes)
299 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Okay, ACTUALLY the game of the week:

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Minnesota
    (114 votes)
  • 64%
    Fresno
    (207 votes)
321 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Just kidding, THIS is the real game of the week:

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Nebraska
    (110 votes)
  • 65%
    Colorado
    (208 votes)
318 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Nah...you know the one we want you to choose:

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    Illinois covers
    (134 votes)
  • 36%
    Illinois STRAIGHT-UP
    (116 votes)
  • 20%
    UCONN WITH THE UPSET
    (65 votes)
315 votes total Vote Now